Wednesday, September 18, 2013

roofer wool martian dropped

George is happy lying on the trolley. He has his ancient, liver-spotted hands neatly resting in his lap, his slippers just poking out of the blanket the other end. His glasses catch the light as he looks this way and that.

‘Bessie downed it,’ he says.

George’s false teeth don’t fit. The top plate is completely adrift, so whenever he talks, it drops and rocks from side to side, following the movement of his lower jaw. He also has to make urgent little gabbling motions with his lips from time to time, to stop it shooting out. It’s disconcerting to watch, like seeing two mouths working where there should only be one. And the upshot is, George’s words get completely mangled. We’ve tried to persuade him to take the plate out, but he won’t have it.
‘A cargo rout in Aberdeen,’ he says.
‘Sorry, George? A what?’

The only way you can understand him is to loosen your mind to the same extent as the plate. It’s like reading bad handwriting. If you don’t panic and simply let go, the sense will come. Hopefully.

‘Howling at the zoo was under the influence?’ he says.
‘How long have I worked on the ambulance?’
He nods.
‘Seven years.’
He reaches out and touches my arm.
‘I used a stork under brushes’
‘Did you?’
He nods.
‘On the buses?’
He nods.
‘Acorn chucked her.’
‘A conductor?’
He nods.
Another trolley comes through the doors and we all shuffle down a touch.
‘Move right down inside the car, please,’ I say.
He laughs, shakes his head, leans up and touches me on the arm.

‘Roofer wool martian dropped.’


jacksofbuxton said...

I wonder if George is related to Stanley Unwin?

Spence Kennedy said...

I think you might well be correctibold in your assumptionings.

Jane said...

'Roofer wool martian dropped'... 'we'll have to budge up a bit?!'

George sounds a bit like Reuben in Cold Comfort Farm. There's a great bit which which goes

'I ha' scranleted two hundred furrows come 5 o'clock doen i' the bute'.

'Did you?' said Flora (the heroine) in a bright interested voice...

Spence Kennedy said...

'Room for one more on top.'

Quite chilling actually. One of my all time favourite / worst scary films ever was 'Dead of Night' - reminded me of that.

Cold Comfort Farm - never read it! But I've heard a lot about it - and it's next up after North. Abbey.

Anonymous said...

The BBC adaptation of Cold Comfort Farm is also marvellous. Different, but marvellous.

Spence Kennedy said...

Thanks Anon - will def check it out.

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of Hot Fuzz and the translation scene

Spence Kennedy said...

I'll look that up on YouTube!

We had a drunk today who was difficult to understand, too - and he got really offended when we asked him to repeat some things. Like anyone could've understood what he was saying. (And he refused to stop eating his crisps, scattering them hither & thither - especially thither, which was particularly difficult to get to).

ThatLibraryMiss said...

Jane - that's my favourite book too! I think of it whenever I hear or read the name Seth. "Worst fears realised darling..."